I excitedly untied the twine that held the book and beautifully photographed thank you note together. My friend Christie Purifoy’s book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons had finally arrived.
I first discovered Christie Purifoy’s writing when we were both contributors to Pick Your Portion. From there I discovered her blog and started following her Instagram feed. It was from Instagram I discovered that she actually lived a mere hour away from me.
One Friday night over a year ago I drove to Christie’s beloved Maplehurst farmhouse for pizza and conversation.
Now, you can experience Maplehurst’s hospitality too, through Christie’s beautiful new book, Roots & Sky.
Christie writes about the meaning of home as she recounts her first year at Maplehurst. And Maplehurst becomes not just a tangible real experience of putting down roots but also a metaphor of what it means to find our home in Christ. As the seasons change, a baby is born, depression is lived through, gardens are planted, and Advent morphs through Lent and to Easter, Christie shares her journey with us. It is a story of discovery and spiritual growth. Her writing is lyrical, meditative, and saturated with biblical imagery that is natural and fresh.
“Our lives are stories built of small moments,” Christie writes early on in her book. “Ordinary experiences. It is too easy to forget that our days are adding up to something astonishing. We do not often stop to notice the signs and wonders. The writing on the wall.
But some days we do.”
And this is really what Roots & Sky is all about. Stopping to notice the signs and wonders of ordinary life. The extravagance of each season. The parables of life and death God gives us in creation all around us.
“I am convinced the world is saturated with meaning. We trample messages like scattered leaves beneath our feet. If only we have eyes to see them. Ears to hear them.”
Right now I’m straining my eyes and ears for messages of new life. Of spring. Which is ironic because as I write this, a snowstorm swirls outside the window. But the calendar whispers that it will soon be spring. The hold of winter will soon wane. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, after all. Tomorrow is the count down to resurrection begins.
Christie reminds me that though Christ prepares a home for me in Heaven, he also makes his home with me on earth. That he “once wrapped himself in dust. He is our God with dirt under his nails, and he is near. God with us.”
As Lent begins I am reminded of God’s nearness. That God is in the midst building his kingdom—his home—not just in Heaven, but right here and right now. And that I can rest in that knowledge. Lent does not signify striving and sacrifice and deprivation on my part. The sacrifice has already been accomplished.
“I believe the words ‘it is finished’ are so big that they hold every one of our days, even those we have not yet lived. It is finished, even when all feels unfinished. Death is defeated. We have been forgiven our terrible rejection, and we can live every moment in the knowledge that there is nothing left for us to do. Only everything for us to receive.
For he has done it.”
Christie Purifoy lives with her husband and four children at Maplehurst, an old, brick farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago and, a few years later, traded the classroom for a picket-fenced garden and an old writing desk. She writes regularly at www.christiepurifoy.com and you can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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